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Around the Horn

Long Island Railroad 3rd Track Project Pushes On

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CBS2:

 

Cuomo, MTA Revise LIRR Track Expansion Plan After Community Complaints

 

 

FLORAL PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — After listening to complaints and concerns, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a massive overhaul of his plans to build a third track on one of the busiest corridors on the Long Island Rail Road.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the earlier plan had been so unpopular that billboards were mounted reading, “No Third Track” alongside Cuomo’s face with a red railroad track through it.

“Parking will be taken away. It will be scare for our commuters and I think it’s going to really impact families,” Floral Park business owner Ann Corbett said in March.

“Our biggest concern is that we will bear all the burden and derive none of the benefit,” Floral Park Mayor Thomas Tweedy said in March. “The third track is going through some of the most densely populated and some of the most mature communities in western Nassau County, so eminent domain is certainly part of what the project will be.”

But things have changed. Cuomo and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have revamped plans to build a $2 billion third track from Floral Park to Hicksville.

“What’s different this time is we really listened to the community; worked with the community; coordinated with the community,” said MTA special adviser John McCarthy.

The new plan will include:

• No residential property acquisitions;
• Elimination of seven street-level grade crossings;
• More parking;
• Satellite parking to keep construction workers’ cars off residential streets;
• Protecting access to local businesses;
• New noise controls.

“We’re going to build sound elimination walls, which means you’re going to be better off,” McCarthy said. “There will be less noise from the railroad.”

More than 100,000 commuters travel between Floral Park and Hicksville every day. Besides crowded trains and platforms, there are long delays anytime there is a problem. When one of the two current tracks is shut off, trains must alternate on the one that is left.

“We think this is going to be a win for the people who live in the communities, and all the riders of the railroad,” McCarthy said.

MTA officials said they will seek even more community input over the next few months and are open to making more changes.

The hope is that construction will start at the end of the year. The project could take up to four years to complete.

 

MTA:

 

Draft Environmental Study Released; Findings Demonstrate How Project Will Improve Service Reliability, Safety and Quality of Life

 

 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the MTA has reached a major milestone to improve transit service, safety and quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Long Island commuters and residents. The LIRR Expansion Project released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement which will take the project another step toward construction. The scientific, engineering and socioeconomic study is required to identify any potential impacts of public construction projects and help ensure that they are done safely, responsibly, and with public input. The study’s findings demonstrate how the LIRR Expansion Project would improve service and reduce delays for Long Island Rail Road customers throughout the system, as well as improve safety and quality of life for local residents living in the project area in Nassau County.

"Expanding the Main Line is crucial to the future of Long Island and its residents,” Governor Cuomo said. “By increasing capacity on one of the LIRR’s busiest corridors and eliminating all street-level grade crossings, this project will result in less traffic, less congestion and a transportation network that meets the needs of current and future generations of Long Islanders. Today’s action marks an important milestone in this project’s completion and is another major step forward in our efforts to build a brighter future for Long island.”

“Governor Cuomo challenged us to undertake a project to transform the LIRR experience for both passengers and local communities, and to do so with an unprecedented level of community consultation and outreach – and that’s exactly what we’re doing now,” MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said. “We have gone to extraordinary lengths to listen to what the public wants out of this project. We will continue to study the impacts of this proposal and take input from all stakeholders, including our neighbors along the tracks and Main Line customers from across Long Island and New York City.”

The proposed project is completely different from prior proposals to expand track capacity on the LIRR’s Main Line. This project will include:

  • No residential property acquisitions
  • Eliminating all grade crossings within the 9.8 mile project corridor
  • Building sound walls to reduce noise
  • Station upgrades
  • Additional parking
  • Increased reliance on private construction industry expertise to minimize construction duration, impacts and cost
  • Unprecedented level of public outreach to engage local officials, homeowners and other stakeholders and use their input while the project is being planned

About the LIRR Expansion Project
The LIRR Expansion Project will add a third track to 9.8 miles along the congested Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville, and eliminate all seven street-level train crossings, called “grade crossings,” within the project corridor.

With up to 40 percent of the LIRR’s 308,000 daily passengers going through the Main Line, which serves as the main corridor through which many branches of the LIRR travel, the proposed project will improve service for more than half a million passengers per week.

The elimination and modification of all seven train crossings within the project area will reduce road traffic and pollution from automobiles idling at crossing gates; will eliminate noise from train horns, crossing bells and honking cars; and will greatly improve safety by removing areas where vehicles and pedestrians can collide with trains. Right now, trains are required to blow their horns as they pass through grade crossings, and additional noise comes from bells that alert nearby drivers, who idle in long lines as they wait for trains to pass and honk their horns when gates open. The Department of Transportation will oversee the grade crossing component of the project.

“The grade crossing elimination options for this project were developed in close consultation with local communities and will end the noise, traffic and safety concerns that they have been living with for years,” said NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll. “It will lead to a significant improvement in quality of life for many people.”

The project will also result in significant noise reduction throughout sections of the project corridor from proposed retaining walls and sound attenuation walls along the railroad’s right-of-way. While these structures will reduce noise from existing train traffic, they will have an even greater impact after the significant service increases from the future East Side Access Project go into effect in a few years.

The project also includes major track infrastructure upgrades like new switches, signals and power equipment, as well as station upgrades like new, longer platforms to accommodate full-length trains, removing delays and safety issues associated with passengers needing to move between cars on shorter platforms. The project also proposes additional parking to address future ridership growth. These and other proposed components of the project are the result of months of direct consultation with local elected officials and community members, as well as analysis by experienced transportation engineers.

Other environmental benefits from the project, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions, derive from reduced automobile trips as a result of additional and more reliable rail service.

All project benefits, as well as other detailed information like track and grade crossing changes, proposed service changes, current land use patterns and proposed construction staging, are outlined in the project’s Draft EIS available for download at the project’s website at www.aModernLI.com.

Renderings of the project are available here.

No Residential Property Acquisitions
Unlike previous attempts to add a third track to the two-track Main Line, this project is designed without a single residential property being taken, as promised by Governor Cuomo soon after the proposal was announced this year. As shown by detailed figures in the Draft EIS, this will be achieved by building the third track entirely within the LIRR’s existing property lines.

Increased Transparency and Community Outreach 
At Governor Cuomo’s direction, the LIRR Expansion Project team has undertaken an unprecedented level of community outreach since the proposal was first announced, including hundreds of meetings to date with elected officials, community leaders, homeowners along the project corridor, LIRR customers, and stakeholders throughout the region. A staffed, walk-in information office with project documents and other materials has been open since May. An outline of the Draft EIS, called a Draft Scoping Document, was published in May, and six public hearings were held that month to solicit comments from the public. A Final Scoping Document incorporating that public comment was published in August, and meetings with local communities and stakeholders continued into the fall. All of this input has helped shape the content of the Draft EIS, which addresses numerous concerns raised by communities and is subject to further public comment. Comments on the Draft EIS will be addressed in the Final EIS, which will also be published, all before any construction would begin.

Community-Focused Construction Mitigation 
Incorporating extensive input from local communities, the project team is exploring neighbor-friendly and innovative construction methods and practices to keep the impact of construction as minimal as possible. This community-focused approach to construction includes:

  • Pre-construction home inspections
  • Satellite parking to keep workers’ personal vehicles out of residential streets
  • Using existing track to transport materials to and from work sites
  • Advance notification of any disruptive work or road closures to residents, municipalities, school districts and first-responders
  • Scheduling construction deliveries outside of school and commuter traffic peak hours to the maximum extent practicable
  • Creating and implementing a community noise and vibration monitoring program
  • Implementing an air quality control plan to include dust control measures, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, the use of best available tailpipe technologies such as diesel particulate filters, and the utilization of newer equipment
  • Environmental monitoring consistent with a Construction Health and Safety Plan
  • Protecting access to existing businesses
  • Street cleaning as needed
  • Door-to-door outreach to residents
  • Regular online updates to the public
  • Staffing the Project Information Office with on-site supervision for rapid response to neighborhood concerns
  • 24/7 hotline assigned to a community outreach representative

In addition, Governor Cuomo has directed that construction for this project use the “design-build” contracting technique, which places oversight of the construction in the hands of private construction firms, which are expert in the field. This means that construction oversight will be completely different from past LIRR projects, with goals to shorten the construction timeline, improve efficiency and minimize the impact of the project on surrounding communities and rail passengers.

The design-build method, used in other projects like the current building of a new Tappan Zee Bridge, puts the responsibility to both design and build a project on a single firm, capitalizing on private sector construction expertise and innovation and incentivizing a firm’s success at reducing construction length, cost and impacts.

Earlier this month, the MTA Board voted to use a two-step public process to identify the private construction firms that are best qualified to work on the LIRR Expansion Project and then, in the future, select one based on the best proposal to meet the project’s objectives. The initial stages of the procurement process and the environmental study are happening in parallel so that agency decision making in areas that are important to the public – like construction time, cost and impacts – are informed by ideas that emerge during the early stages of the procurement process. No contract will be awarded until after the conclusion of the environmental review process.

The LIRR Expansion Project is part of a broader, ongoing effort by Governor Cuomo to transform the MTA and improve transit and transportation throughout New York State. On Long Island, projects like the Double Track Project between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, the Jamaica Capacity Improvements Project, and the East Side Access Project to bring LIRR to Grand Central Terminal, will all bring better service to LIRR customers and help ease congestion on clogged local streets and highways such as the Long Island Expressway, Northern and Southern State Parkways, and Grand Central and Belt Parkways.

Public Hearings
The public comment period for the Draft EIS is now underway and will continue through Jan. 31, 2017. Anyone may comment on the Draft EIS by writing via www.aModernLI.com, to info@aModernLI.com or visiting the Project Information Office at Mineola Station, south platform. During this period, the project team will meet with residents in neighborhoods throughout the project corridor and beyond, to help the public understand the Draft EIS and how the project affects their respective communities.

Another six public hearings, focused on the Draft EIS, will be held in January 2017, and will be listed on the www.aModernLI.com website.

Input from the current public comment period will be incorporated into the publication of the Final EIS, expected in 2017.

Recent LIRR Delays that Would Have Benefitted from a Third Track 
Examples of recent major incidents in which a third track would have helped service to resume with fewer delays and cancellations, or in which a proposed grade crossing elimination would have averted the incident entirely, include:

  • On Oct. 8, a derailment just west of Merillon Avenue Station stopped service on both tracks. Repairs continued over the weekend, but only one-track service was available for the following Monday morning rush, causing delays and cancellations for westbound passengers and a complete shutdown for eastbound Main Line passengers.       
  • On Oct. 5, a broken rail just east of Mineola Station just before 6 a.m. stopped service in both directions during the AM rush, causing delays and cancellations for thousands of passengers.·          
  • On Aug. 19, a person struck by a train at Mineola Station stopped service in both directions during the AM rush, causing delays and cancellations for thousands of passengers.·          
  • Also on Aug. 19, a car struck a crossing gate in Westbury that’s proposed to be eliminated in the project, causing further delays for passengers.
  • On July 27, a person charged with drunk driving entered a grade crossing that’s proposed to be eliminated in the project, and struck the third rail, putting the Main Line out of service during the AM rush and causing delays and cancellations for thousands of passengers.

 

I would have also linked to Newsday but they appear to have not yet picked up on the story...

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2 Billion dollars for ONE track and 4 Long years???? Only in America lol...And secondly all these people bitchin bout the "noise" Listen the LIRR was there BEFORE u bought ur house and most likely use it to/fro work and not to mention that the 3rd track is a nobrainer...its like the folks who holler about planes at the airport when the airport was there before u lolll

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using NYC Transit Forums mobile app

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2 Billion dollars for ONE track and 4 Long years???? Only in America lol...And secondly all these people bitchin bout the "noise" Listen the LIRR was there BEFORE u bought ur house and most likely use it to/fro work and not to mention that the 3rd track is a nobrainer...its like the folks who holler about planes at the airport when the airport was there before u lolll

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using NYC Transit Forums mobile app

I can actually hear Amtrak from where I live when it is very quiet and my balcony door is open, and the station is a good 15 - 20 minute walk from my residence. I used to think it was coming from downhill, but there are no trains in that vicinity and there is no subway either.  A third rail will certainly mean more trains, more noise, and more vibrations, so I don't blame them for voicing concerns, especially if they own the property.  It's one thing to know about having a train near you or airplanes above, and another when their frequency increases.  Makes for a very different situation.  

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Folks, its not just a third track. Its also station renovations, grade separation and soundproofing...

 

For all that $2 billion is a steal...

 

Except it would cost less if they acquired some property.

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https://gallery.mailchimp.com/69d8acc358c2fb2608af2fd87/files/2017_01Jan_16_LIRR_Today_News_and_Notes.pdf

 

They are really going to waste the opportunity if they don't change the plan.

 

 

The only real issue I see is the lack of an island platform at Mineola. Everything else....I mean right now we have no reverse-peak service. If there was an issue, we'd have to cram all the peak direction trains on one track, but at least, we'd still be able to run reverse-peak service.

 

I don't see why we can't have both a Main Line third track and a Central Branch reactivation for added backup/redundancy.

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The only real issue I see is the lack of an island platform at Mineola. Everything else....I mean right now we have no reverse-peak service. If there was an issue, we'd have to cram all the peak direction trains on one track, but at least, we'd still be able to run reverse-peak service.

 

I don't see why we can't have both a Main Line third track and a Central Branch reactivation for added backup/redundancy.

 

I think that a major issue is the connection to the Oyster Bay Branch. If they do it as planned, there will be severe delays. The only way to alleviate the delays under this plan is to have all trains on the branch operate as shuttles. That branch, as well as the entire Port Jefferson Branch, needs to be electrified. I think that the Central Branch should definitely be reactivated. It would serve as a backup, and it would allow for Ronkonkoma Branch trains to be rerouted off of the mainline, therefore, increasing service.

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The only real issue I see is the lack of an island platform at Mineola. Everything else....I mean right now we have no reverse-peak service. If there was an issue, we'd have to cram all the peak direction trains on one track, but at least, we'd still be able to run reverse-peak service.

 

I don't see why we can't have both a Main Line third track and a Central Branch reactivation for added backup/redundancy.

 

You know the reason as well as I do: $$$

 

The LIRR, as it stands right now, is a giant money suck in the Capital Plan. You have East Side Access hoovering up everything in sight and the Third Track taking most of what's left. As much as I respect the author of these posts for the insight into the LIRR's operations he can provide, his arguments for expanding the scope are poor. On one hand it's too expensive (because it's happening very quickly); on the other hand we should expand the scope of the project to four tracks, increasing cost, or build the Central Branch, increasing costs.

 

The Central Branch is not going to be an improvement unless it's express (because no one wants to take the scenic route through the Island). Not to mention, the ROW is not intact east of Meadowbrook State Parkway, so there will be takings (including of public parkland, meaning that the taken parkland must be replaced in kind). This also only really works if you assume that the current Ronkonkoma-centric service pattern holds, which it won't if electrification is extended out past Huntington; the only reason many people drive to Ronk as much as they do is that the electrification only goes out that far, and the service patterns reflect that.

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The only real issue I see is the lack of an island platform at Mineola. Everything else....I mean right now we have no reverse-peak service. If there was an issue, we'd have to cram all the peak direction trains on one track, but at least, we'd still be able to run reverse-peak service.

 

I don't see why we can't have both a Main Line third track and a Central Branch reactivation for added backup/redundancy.

 

Local residents would oppose reactivating the Central Branch because they don't want railroad tracks going thru Eisenhower Park, or a train roaring on back of Nassau Community College.

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You know the reason as well as I do: $$$

 

The LIRR, as it stands right now, is a giant money suck in the Capital Plan. You have East Side Access hoovering up everything in sight and the Third Track taking most of what's left. As much as I respect the author of these posts for the insight into the LIRR's operations he can provide, his arguments for expanding the scope are poor. On one hand it's too expensive (because it's happening very quickly); on the other hand we should expand the scope of the project to four tracks, increasing cost, or build the Central Branch, increasing costs.

 

The Central Branch is not going to be an improvement unless it's express (because no one wants to take the scenic route through the Island). Not to mention, the ROW is not intact east of Meadowbrook State Parkway, so there will be takings (including of public parkland, meaning that the taken parkland must be replaced in kind). This also only really works if you assume that the current Ronkonkoma-centric service pattern holds, which it won't if electrification is extended out past Huntington; the only reason many people drive to Ronk as much as they do is that the electrification only goes out that far, and the service patterns reflect that.

 

i think the point the author was trying to make was value...why spend $2 billion for a project that will only solve a few problems when they could expand the plan slightly and maybe spend $3 billion to solve a lot more of our problems.  four mainline tracks or a central branch would be much better value, since it would enable better peak service, right?

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i think the point the author was trying to make was value...why spend $2 billion for a project that will only solve a few problems when they could expand the plan slightly and maybe spend $3 billion to solve a lot more of our problems.  four mainline tracks or a central branch would be much better value, since it would enable better peak service, right?

 

That's if you believe, as the LIRR does, that the LIRR should always be a peak-focused commuter rail option. We already run ridiculous amounts of peak service, to the point where for an hour or two during the day there is no reverse peak service because all the capacity is being used.

 

The Third Track runs counter to all this because it's not supposed to benefit peak service at all. Rather, it's supposed to increase reliability, and provide some reasonably timed reverse-peak service. Contrary to the author's opinion, two tracks is much better than one when shit hits the fan, because more trains can get through.

 

A Central Branch is poor value because it only works to relieve the Main Line if we continue with a Ronk-heavy focus. Four tracks would be way more expensive than three; it's a miracle that the Third Track fits mostly entirely within ROW, but a fourth track would not fit in at all, and would require purchasing hundreds of properties on the Main Line, probably blowing out the cost by a few billion in the process.

Edited by bobtehpanda

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That's if you believe, as the LIRR does, that the LIRR should always be a peak-focused commuter rail option. We already run ridiculous amounts of peak service, to the point where for an hour or two during the day there is no reverse peak service because all the capacity is being used.

 

The Third Track runs counter to all this because it's not supposed to benefit peak service at all. Rather, it's supposed to increase reliability, and provide some reasonably timed reverse-peak service. Contrary to the author's opinion, two tracks is much better than one when shit hits the fan, because more trains can get through.

 

A Central Branch is poor value because it only works to relieve the Main Line if we continue with a Ronk-heavy focus. Four tracks would be way more expensive than three; it's a miracle that the Third Track fits mostly entirely within ROW, but a fourth track would not fit in at all, and would require purchasing hundreds of properties on the Main Line, probably blowing out the cost by a few billion in the process.

 

what they "focus" on doesn't have much to do with anything.  it's a question of when the riders show up and if there is enough space to carry them.  third track or not li's economy will still be pretty dependent on the city, so there will still be lots of people looking to get to the city whether LIRR focuses on them or not.  neglecting them will make conditions poor and will only hurt li's economy in the long run.

 

per the blue table, even if we build the third track there will be 18124 standees during the morning rush hour...per the LIRR's own study...how is that acceptable?

 

building this plan now would make adding a fourth track...which will have to be inevitable...much more difficult if not impossible...the "miracle" comes at a cost...  why should LIRR not get it done properly now and be ahead of the curve for once instead of being perpetually behind?

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what they "focus" on doesn't have much to do with anything.  it's a question of when the riders show up and if there is enough space to carry them.  third track or not li's economy will still be pretty dependent on the city, so there will still be lots of people looking to get to the city whether LIRR focuses on them or not.  neglecting them will make conditions poor and will only hurt li's economy in the long run.

 

per the blue table, even if we build the third track there will be 18124 standees during the morning rush hour...per the LIRR's own study...how is that acceptable?

 

building this plan now would make adding a fourth track...which will have to be inevitable...much more difficult if not impossible...the "miracle" comes at a cost...  why should LIRR not get it done properly now and be ahead of the curve for once instead of being perpetually behind?

 

No one rides reverse-peak trains right now because there are no reverse-peak trains to ride. Saying that the fourth track is difficult if not impossible in the future ignores the fact that it is difficult, if not impossible today. The Main Line past Floral Park has only ever been designed with thoughts for a Third Track, not a fourth. If doing it right costs an extra few billion, then Long Island can put up the few billion itself; it's bad enough that the MTA is burning so much money building East Side Access.

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That's if you believe, as the LIRR does, that the LIRR should always be a peak-focused commuter rail option. We already run ridiculous amounts of peak service, to the point where for an hour or two during the day there is no reverse peak service because all the capacity is being used.

 

The Third Track runs counter to all this because it's not supposed to benefit peak service at all. Rather, it's supposed to increase reliability, and provide some reasonably timed reverse-peak service. Contrary to the author's opinion, two tracks is much better than one when shit hits the fan, because more trains can get through.

 

A Central Branch is poor value because it only works to relieve the Main Line if we continue with a Ronk-heavy focus. Four tracks would be way more expensive than three; it's a miracle that the Third Track fits mostly entirely within ROW, but a fourth track would not fit in at all, and would require purchasing hundreds of properties on the Main Line, probably blowing out the cost by a few billion in the process.

 

The problem (as stated above) is that peak service is where the capacity is needed most. I totally agree that reverse peak is valuable, but if the LIRR continues to grow at ~2% a year, peak-hour trains will be at 124% of capacity assuming that every train is a 1300-seat M9 running on a perfect schedule with passengers distributed evenly over peak hours and trains. I support 3rd track 100%, but it is in no way a real fix. 

 

The advantage of the CB is that it removes all Ronk trains from the Port Jefferson Branch east of Floral Park (where the line is 4 tracks). This will not only help capacity, but also reliablility, as an incident on the Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville would then only disrupt one line, not 2. The ROW of the CB is intact as a power line ROW except for the segment through Eisenhower Park, so it is not totally outlandish. 

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The problem (as stated above) is that peak service is where the capacity is needed most. I totally agree that reverse peak is valuable, but if the LIRR continues to grow at ~2% a year, peak-hour trains will be at 124% of capacity assuming that every train is a 1300-seat M9 running on a perfect schedule with passengers distributed evenly over peak hours and trains. I support 3rd track 100%, but it is in no way a real fix. 

 

The advantage of the CB is that it removes all Ronk trains from the Port Jefferson Branch east of Floral Park (where the line is 4 tracks). This will not only help capacity, but also reliablility, as an incident on the Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville would then only disrupt one line, not 2. The ROW of the CB is intact as a power line ROW except for the segment through Eisenhower Park, so it is not totally outlandish. 

 

Under NYS law, any taking of parkland requires a donation of suitable parkland of equal acreage, and there's not a lot of land in Long Island to just give as parkland. There would also still be a point of failure affecting two lines, namely between Floral Park and Country Life Press.

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The advantage of the CB is that it removes all Ronk trains from the Port Jefferson Branch east of Floral Park (where the line is 4 tracks). This will not only help capacity, but also reliablility, as an incident on the Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville would then only disrupt one line, not 2. The ROW of the CB is intact as a power line ROW except for the segment through Eisenhower Park, so it is not totally outlandish. 

You do know why the Central Branch was abandoned in the first place, right ? The prospects of re-connecting it to the Babylon or Ronkonkoma branch only exists as a pipe dream to a railfan. Back then, whether it was needed or not, no one wanted those trains to run anywhere near their homes. That's why it was severed from Garden City eastward except for the occasional freight using the Garden City Secondary across the Meadowbrook for the Nassau Coliseum. With the Ringling Brothers Circus folding it's tent this May the Secondary is not even needed for the annual circus train. I haven't read of any plans to reactivate the branch and as you have pointed out the LIPA power lines and, especially, Eisenhower Park rule that out. I usually use the Ronkonkoma Branch to/from the city but wouldn't re-opening the Central Branch mean that KO and MTK trains would lose access to Hicksville and Mineola ? IDK how many people commute to those stations but quite a few get on at those stops.Not saying your idea doesn't have merit but it seems that the double tracking from KO to Farmingdale is the main focus out there. Just questioning, not denigrating your idea. Carry on.

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Under NYS law, any taking of parkland requires a donation of suitable parkland of equal acreage, and there's not a lot of land in Long Island to just give as parkland. There would also still be a point of failure affecting two lines, namely between Floral Park and Country Life Press.

I bet there's some loophole. I know in nj you can buy credits to do that kind of thing. And anyway, MTA is a NYS authority. I bet if there was political will, it could be made to happen.

 

Yeah, but then it's the Hempstead and the Main, not the PJ and the Main. BIG difference there.

Edited by RR503

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Under NYS law, any taking of parkland requires a donation of suitable parkland of equal acreage, and there's not a lot of land in Long Island to just give as parkland. There would also still be a point of failure affecting two lines, namely between Floral Park and Country Life Press.

 

Country Life Press is right before Hempstead, which makes it easier to handle any problems. Not to mention having an extra option to reroute trains can't hurt. If there's a problem on the Main Line, you send whatever trains you can down one track, and the rest down the Central Branch. (And vice versa, if there's a major problem on the Central Branch/Hempstead Branch, you try to squeeze the trains onto the Main Line the same way you would with the current 3rd track plan)

 

You do know why the Central Branch was abandoned in the first place, right ? The prospects of re-connecting it to the Babylon or Ronkonkoma branch only exists as a pipe dream to a railfan. Back then, whether it was needed or not, no one wanted those trains to run anywhere near their homes. That's why it was severed from Garden City eastward except for the occasional freight using the Garden City Secondary across the Meadowbrook for the Nassau Coliseum. With the Ringling Brothers Circus folding it's tent this May the Secondary is not even needed for the annual circus train. I haven't read of any plans to reactivate the branch and as you have pointed out the LIPA power lines and, especially, Eisenhower Park rule that out. I usually use the Ronkonkoma Branch to/from the city but wouldn't re-opening the Central Branch mean that KO and MTK trains would lose access to Hicksville and Mineola ? IDK how many people commute to those stations but quite a few get on at those stops.Not saying your idea doesn't have merit but it seems that the double tracking from KO to Farmingdale is the main focus out there. Just questioning, not denigrating your idea. Carry on.

 

On the Montauk Branch, a lot of trains (most of them if I understand the schedule right) don't stop at Mineola or Hicksville anyway. As far as the Ronkonkoma Branch goes, there would still be some trains running down the Main Line, enough to provide decent frequency for anybody looking to head from those stations out to eastern Long Island, but the Central Branch would accommodate those extra trains.

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Country Life Press is right before Hempstead, which makes it easier to handle any problems. Not to mention having an extra option to reroute trains can't hurt. If there's a problem on the Main Line, you send whatever trains you can down one track, and the rest down the Central Branch. (And vice versa, if there's a major problem on the Central Branch/Hempstead Branch, you try to squeeze the trains onto the Main Line the same way you would with the current 3rd track plan)

 

 

On the Montauk Branch, a lot of trains (most of them if I understand the schedule right) don't stop at Mineola or Hicksville anyway. As far as the Ronkonkoma Branch goes, there would still be some trains running down the Main Line, enough to provide decent frequency for anybody looking to head from those stations out to eastern Long Island, but the Central Branch would accommodate those extra trains.

What I was trying to get across is that right now there is no Central Branch remaining except the cut between the Main and Montauk and the residents that would theoretically benefit don't want it rebuilt. If you think the Third Track has opponents imagine the uproar from people who have no trains running in their neighborhoods and want to keep it that way. I wonder what the cost is, financial and political , to rebuild the line from Island Trees through Levittown, Mitchel Field, and the Garden City Secondary ? Like I said earlier I'm not against the idea but the residents of Nassau County may not like it. Carry on.

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